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09.05.19 – Get to know your Daniels Faculty staff and instructors

If you're a new student at the Daniels Faculty (or even if you're a returning one), you may not have met some of the people who work to make One Spadina the vibrant, creative place that it is. Who are these faculty members and staffers, what's their best advice for new students, and (perhaps most importantly) what nearby restaurants do they recommend? We asked them, and here are the results:

Name: Erica Allen-Kim
Job title: Assistant Professor and Writing Centre Coordinator

Describe what you do at Daniels in ten words or fewer.
I run the Writing Centre and teach architectural history.

What's the best part of your job?
Helping students write about buildings and landscapes from new perspectives.

What's the question you're most frequently asked by students?
How do I become a stronger writer?

And what is the answer to that question?
Read at least one newspaper article every day and use a design journal to keep track of your ideas and process.

What's your favourite room/area in One Spadina, and why?
My office! I love the warmth of the exposed brick, and it's filled with my children's artwork and plants gifted by students.

Favourite lunch spot near One Spadina?
We are so lucky to be located next to Chinatown. There are many delicious and affordable restaurants. My favorite place is Banh Mi Ba Le on Dundas. 

Favourite dish at aforementioned lunch spot?
Lemongrass tofu banh mi, extra spicy.

What's your best one-sentence piece of advice for someone new to the faculty? 
Take notes for each other during reviews. It's amazing how little you'll remember when you're presenting and answering questions!

 
 

Name: Daniel Dempsey
Job title: Student Services Officer
 
Describe what you do at Daniels in ten words or fewer.
Help students navigate administrative procedures and provide helpful resources.
 
What's the best part of your job?
Being able to support students in making decisions related to their studies and interests in design and its related fields is truly satisfying. Having been a student here myself, and being on the other side of the desk, I would consider myself a valuable resource for those looking for information.
 
What's the question you're most frequently asked by students?
When I finish my undergraduate degree, am I an architect?
 
And what is the answer to that question?
No! In Canada, accreditation of academic institutions is handled by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB), and your next step would be to start a professional accredited degree. At Daniels, our MArch is a professional program, and its completion allows you to practice as an intern architect and accumulate work experience. With enough experience, you can apply for your license to start practicing as an architect.
 
What's your favourite room/area in One Spadina, and why?
The Eberhard Zeidler Library has such a wide variety of spaces to study, yet still feels like a cohesive whole. I believe it exemplifies the building's wider design intent: to merge a historic restoration with a contemporary addition.
 
Favourite lunch spot near One Spadina?
7/11.
 
Favourite dish at aforementioned lunch spot?
You get a fresh 7/11 hotdog and cover it with chili and cheese straight from the dispenser.
 
What's your best one-sentence piece of advice for someone new to the faculty?
In a design critique, your professors and peers aren’t criticizing you, they’re critiquing your work. Be sure to separate the two, and remember that feedback is a vital tool to advancing your ideas and abilities.

 
 

Name: Gareth Long
Job title:Visual Studies Lecturer and Faculty Ambassador
 
Describe what you do at Daniels in ten words or fewer.
I'm an instructor for a variety of Visual Studies classes.
 
What's the best part of your job?
Learning with and from the students.
 
What's the question you're most frequently asked by students?
"Does this count as a ____?" (fill in a specific art term).
 
And what is the answer to that question?
I’m willing to be convinced.
 
What's your favourite room/area in One Spadina, and why?
I spend more of my time in the Borden Buildings, but as someone who was a Visual Studies student (1998-2002) back when VIS was in One Spadina, I’m partial to all the old Knox College parts of the building that I spent many, many hours in.
 
Favourite lunch spot near One Spadina?
Mother’s Dumplings.
 
Favourite dish at aforementioned lunch spot?
No matter what I order there I always make sure to also get the scallion pancake, BBQ pork buns, and the smashed cucumber salad. And then just whatever dumplings I’m craving that day.
 
What's your best one-sentence piece of advice for someone new to the faculty?
The students will challenge you and the best students will beg you to challenge them. They’re up for the challenge.

 
 

Name: Joe Rogal
Job title: Studio Technician

Describe what you do at Daniels in ten words or fewer.
I offer support/guidance to help studios run smoothly.

What's the best part of your job?
Helping students learn or build confidence in fabrication techniques

What's the question you're most frequently asked by students?
How do I set up a file for CNC milling?

And what is the answer to that question?
https://www.daniels.utoronto.ca/info/current-students/resources/cnc-router

What's your favourite room/area in One Spadina, and why?
The rooftop GRIT Lab 2, because it has great views of the city.

Favourite lunch spot near One Spadina?
Pizza Fresca is close, fresh, and delicious.

Favourite dish at aforementioned lunch spot?
Margherita pizza.

What's your best one-sentence piece of advice for someone new to the faculty?
Take advantage of the fabrication workshops and the knowledge and skills they can offer.

 
 

Name: Michael Piper
Job title: Assistant Professor, Urban Design

Describe what you do at Daniels in ten words or fewer.
I teach about and research buildings in urban areas. 

What's the best part of your job?
Exploring Toronto with colleagues and students.  

What's your favourite room/area in One Spadina, and why?
Room 330, for the view of the streetcar approaching through the rose window.  

Favourite lunch spot near One Spadina?
Mother's Dumplings.

Favourite dish at aforementioned lunch spot?
Dumplings! 

What's your best one-sentence piece of advice for someone new to the faculty?
Ask questions and have strong opinions.  

 
 

Name: Sean Thomas
Job title: Research Professor, Forests and Environmental Change

Describe what you do at Daniels in ten words or fewer.  
Research and teaching in forestry and living infrastructure.

What's the best part of your job?
Diverse and challenging problem solving.

What's the question you're most frequently asked by students?
How do I analyze these data?

And what is the answer to that question?
R.

What's your favourite room/area in One Spadina, and why?
GRIT Lab 2, on the One Spadina rooftop, for the view.

Favourite lunch spot near One Spadina?
Tasty's Caribbean Cuisine.

Favourite dish at aforementioned lunch spot?
Jerk chicken with rice and peas.

What's your best one-sentence piece of advice for someone new to the faculty?
Cross the street (carefully) and come visit Forestry at the Earth Sciences Centre.

 
 

Name: Paul Kozak
Job title: Digital Fabrication Technologist
 
Describe what you do at Daniels in ten words or fewer.
Maintain the 3D fabrication facility and help students acquaint themselves with it.
 
What's the best part of your job?
Helping students come up with new ways to make things.
 
What's the question you're most frequently asked by students?
When will my 3D Print be ready?
 
And what is the answer to that question?
We try to maintain a five-day turnaround, even in our busiest times.
 
What's your favourite room/area in One Spadina, and why?
The workshop floor. It's always busy, and there are always interesting things being built.
 
Favourite lunch spot near One Spadina?
Fresca Pizza.
 
Favourite dish at aforementioned lunch spot?
Margarita slice.
 
What's your best one-sentence piece of advice for someone new to the faculty?
Familiarize yourself with the facilities available to you and use them early, so you know what to expect when it's crunch time. And models take three times the amount of time you think they will take.

 
 

Name: Alissa North
Job title: Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture
 
Describe what you do at Daniels in ten words or fewer.
Instill excitement for how landscape architecture makes a better world. (Hopefully!)
 
What's the best part of your job?
Facilitating the creative process, especially when students are clearly excited about learning and discovering a way to initiate their own unique path.
 
What's the question you're most frequently asked by students?
What books should I read when studying landscape architecture?
 
And what is the answer to that question?
Anything and everything that inspires your interests! Here is a good start: https://placesjournal.org/reading-list/re-imagining-torontos-urban-water...
 
What's your favourite room/area in One Spadina, and why?
The magazine reading room in the library, because it’s quiet, with nice light, and the shelving is really clever!
 
Favourite lunch spot near One Spadina?
Kensington Market. Mostly to see how much it’s changed since the '80s and reminisce about ripped jeans.
 
Favourite dish at aforementioned lunch spot?
Sweet potato burrito.
 
What's your best one-sentence piece of advice for someone new to the faculty?
Enjoy your time—being a designer is awesome!